The Nameless Horror

Halfway Done

I turned 35 today, marking the 50% completion mark on my allotted three score and ten. (Yes, yes, raised life expectancy, last many years yet, etc. etc., though I don’t know I’d actually want to spend an extra couple of decades watching my appendages/organs/brain losing bit of themselves, but that’s just me.)

I don’t do birthdays. When I was a kid they were OK because I’d get given money, it being less than two weeks since Christmas. So I’d have a bunch of new stuff, and then a pile of cash to buy other stuff I felt I was lacking, and that would be it for the year. One year I had enough to blow the lot on Space Hulk and both its expansions all in one shake. Good times.

As an adult, and especially one with kids now, though, while I don’t give a rat’s glorious arse for marking my age (or worrying re: 30/40/50/60 and the loss of youth), the cycle of Christmas and New Year takes such a lot of energy that I’m glad to get to the end of it and see life return to normal. Having a sodding birthday coming up really isn’t what you want, then.

Some people seem to find it a little odd when you answer “nothing” to the question “what are you doing for your birthday?” (or, more pointedly, “what do you want to do for your birthday?”), but I like doing nothing, thanks. Sometimes I get a takeaway rather than cook. Woo! On my 30th my then-girlfriend tried (with the best of intentions but the least understanding of me re:birthdays) to organise a surprise party rather than the beer and a game of Settlers with her and an old mate that I’d had in mind and was looking forward to. In the end it was an excruciatingly damp squib, but if more than half a dozen people had shown up I’d have gone out instead because I don’t do anything for my birthday. (That probably wouldn’t have been taken well, but there we go.)

But having a birthday so close to the year’s start does give me an excuse to do one of those looking-back posts a week after everyone else, so screw it, let’s type.

Last year I…

  • Got married.
  • Completed 3-ish books (though two were part-done or in-the-doing already) and redid two more.
  • Abandoned one.
  • Started two more, and am redoing one more.
  • Got back rights to three of my old ones.
  • Shifted a large part of my work focus into the wide world of DIY publishing in part because I…
  • Failed, disappointingly, to land a deal for DAY ZERO.
  • Got to do more photoshoppery than normal; hopefully the practice will stick after a while.
  • Reached #3 on Google’s rankings for “[name of well-known thriller author] penis” for this post that ended up rather widely disseminated after the great book scandal of the year. (Heh. “Seminated.”)
  • Got quoted with the word “fart” from this by the LA Times (and sadly without it by the Telegraph months later) after it ended up doing the rounds, rather to my surprise.
  • Discovered that I can still mix it in the technical world of trade journalism, and that a steady source of income might keep things afloat if I hadn’t also…
  • Discovered that the guys selling ads on the mag I wrote were numpties and failed to shift a thing for ages, meaning no second issue last year, no income from it, and the thing will only surface at the start of spring this year. All being well it’ll then continue on and all will be well, but still.
  • Started editing for cash. As much as most writers have a lingering dread of going back through their own work time after time, I like editing. More so other people’s stuff.
  • Read very little. That I can recall, anyway. The only books I definitely read and finished (as opposed to started reading and haven’t finished - which happens quite a lot - or started reading and gave up on) were A Game Of Thrones, rather late to the party, and Cryptonomicon, which I’ve read a bucket of times before. Since both are a squillion pages in length, that may be why I haven’t read much else. I’d like to get to Reamde when I have a century to spare.
  • Watched very little. The Dark Knight Rises was badly flawed story-wise, but pretty enough. Skyfall was also flawed, also pretty. I don’t remember if there was anything else.
  • Probably did more. I forget. I’m old and my brain doesn’t work.

And in the past 35 years I’ve…

  • Done some things.
  • Not done others.

You know how it goes. Thank you for the birthday wishes, all of you. Onwards. We march on a road of bones. Increasingly tired, age-encrusted bones. Let’s see if we can make it through the other 50% intact.